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Cheong Wa Dae stands by SME minister-nominee amid controversy

Cheong Wa Dae stands by SME minister-nominee amid controversy

Posted September. 02, 2017 07:34,   

Updated September. 02, 2017 08:25


"Park Seong-jin, the nominee for minister of SMEs and Startups, takes a modest conservative approach only, and he is hardly associated with 'New Right, figures."

It has been reported that such opinion was supported by the majority at a presidential secretaries' meeting to review current agenda, chaired by Presidential Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok on Friday.

The minister-candidate has been blamed for being a board member of the Korea Association of Creation Research, which denies evolution. He has also faced backlash for his research paper in which he wrote that the Republic of Korea was founded in 1948 because this theory correlates with a historical perspective of "New Right." Amid controversies over Park's nomination, the presidential office has confirmed that such claims cannot be considered critical flaws for Park to become a minister.

A high-ranking official at the presidential office defended Park's nomination to reporters on Friday. "Park majored in engineering. He has devoted himself to the engineering field and might have not been fully aware of 'New Right' issues," the official said. "Park has lived a modest life. He is a Christian. He graduated from POSTECH and it has been told that Park respects former Prime Minister Park Tae-joon, who is the founder of the school."

The presidential office will stick to its plan to give Park an opportunity to defend himself at a confirmation hearing. "Though he is a conservative man, Park is still qualified to steer the Ministry of SMEs and Startups," said an official at the presidential office.

Keun-Hyung Yoo noel@donga.com · Chan-Wuk Song song@donga.com